Sunday, October 11, 2015

Worthy of Promised Blessings

by Sister Linda S. Reeves
2nd Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

There were so many different angles we could talk about from this talk- for example: Ask God, not Google,
and
the importance of enduring through our trials,
but the topic I've chosen to discuss is purity and repentance.

Sister Reeves quotes a lot from President Packer's final General Conference talk - The Plan of Happiness, or what my kids refer to as "The Birds and the Bees Talk".

SATAN'S TOOLS
In her talk she mentions several of the tools Satan is currently using to tempt us into misusing our procreative powers:
-seductive romance novels
(Did you know that most of these are free on the Kindle app?)

I remember reading an article on girls and pornography that said: "Girls who are addicted to pornography usually start with printed words. And it can start out so innocently: a romance novel, fan-created spin-offs of her favorite books or TV shows, and other ways that might be hard to detect. This reading material creates feelings that those new to these stories are unfamiliar with, but these feelings eventually begin to be accepted, and later, even become enjoyable. When the desire to experience these feelings increases, as with other addictive experiences, readers seek out more intense forms of pornography to get the same sense of gratification. This isn’t an “if your daughter’s addiction progresses” situation. Because she will become desensitized, and once her addiction starts, it will progress."

-tv soap operas

-married women and old boyfriends connecting on social media

-pornography

"When we are involved in watching, reading, or experiencing anything that is below our Heavenly Father’s standards, it weakens us. Regardless of our age, if what we look at, read, listen to, or choose to do does not meet the Lord’s standards in For the Strength of Youth, turn it off, rip it up, throw it out, and slam the door."

"We must be so careful!  We cannot play with Satan's fiery darts and not get burned."


But what if we mess up?

Let me tell you a little story. . .
A few weeks ago in Relief Society, the lesson was on Chastity.  The teacher asked the question, "What are the consequences of not being chaste"?

A sister raised her hand and said that "Once someone's virtue is taken, it can never be given back." 
Then she continued.  "That is why it is so hard to repent from sexual immorality.  It's right up there with murder. You will forever have a hole in your life where your virtue once was."  

And yes, someone even brought up the repentance object lesson about the boy who whenever he sinned had to hammer a nail through the fence.  Once he repented he was allowed to remove the nails, but the holes were still there and would always be.

Then another sister raised her hand and mentioned how her sister had gotten herself pregnant out of wedlock.  She repented, and is now remarried.  He current husband is having issues with the fact that she has had sex with another man and it is reeking havoc on their marriage.  The point of her comment was that the consequences of her sister's sin, although repented of, is still, and will forever remain in her life and in her marriage.

I was feeling really uncomfortable.  These comments were not sitting well with me.  Basically these comments were alluding to the fact that if you do not keep yourself morally clean, you are basically thought of as a spit out piece of chewed up gum.  Yes, you can repent, but you will never be as worthy or as 'special' as those who have kept themselves pure.

Finally and thankfully a brave sister raised her hand, and through her tears, told all these women how wrong they were.  "The Atonement covers all sin", she said, "and makes it as if it has never happened. There is no hole left in the fence. Christ's Atonement takes the old holey board and makes it completely solid, smooth, and new again."

Sister Reeves reminds us:
"None of us is perfect, but when we have sinned, President Packer reminded us:
“The promise is: ‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more’ (D&C 58:42). …

“… The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, He has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that. . ."

We are smooth and new again, as if we had never committed the sin in the first place.
We all sin.  One type of sin is not any worse or less worse than another. A sin is a sin; and all sin, if not repented of, is bad and keeps us out of Heavenly Father's presence.

Because of the Atonement, "all that was heartache can turn to beauty and love and eternity. . .the Atonement. . .can wash clean every stain no matter how difficult or how long or how many times repeated.  The Atonement can put you free again and move forward, cleanly and worthily, to pursue that path that you have chosen in life."

Repentance is one of the tools we have to help us combat Satan.
Sister Reeves also mentions other tools or powers such as:
-scripture power
-prayer power
-temple power
-covenant keeping power
-Sabbath day power
-prophet power
-virtue power
-temple garment wearing power

2 comments:

Walt and Eileen said...

The Lord does categorize the three worst sins in Alma 39:5-6.
1. Deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you... No forgiveness.
2. The shedding of innocent blood. Forgiveness not easy.
3. Sex sin Forgiveness possible; and not remembered by the Lord.

Jamie Reeder said...

I just came across this post, and I know it's old, but I really love your message. Through the atonement, we can be made whole again. With no scars!! (Or holes left in the fence, so to speak.) One thing that might be mentioned, however, is that when we sin, there are going to be consequences. In the example of the sister who had committed sexual sin, though she repented and is clean and whole, she may have to deal with consequences from her mistake--such as a spouse having a hard time dealing with it. Should he just get over it? Perhaps. I mean, she did repent. But you have to admit that it might be really hard for him. As with any sin, there are consequences out of our control, but perhaps with the law of chastity, there is even more potential for the consequences to be severe. Not a punishment (Christ takes that upon Himself when we repent) but a consequence.